Why 53-nation Commonwealth will see 71 teams at Pune Games

October 10th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 10 (IANS) Britain’s Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell spoke up for his native Scotland Friday, saying the coming Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune will be a “pathway to success” for Scotland’s sporting stars of the future. “The Commonwealth Youth Games will give our sporting stars of the future a pathway to success in Delhi 2010 (Commonwealth Games), London 2012 (Olympics) and Glasgow 2014 (Commonwealth Games),” Maxwell said before leaving for Pune, where he said he would support Scotland.

Maxwell will be attending the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune from Oct 12, where 44 athletes from eight sports will fly the flag for Scotland.

For an island-nation of around 60 million people, Britain offers a bewildering array of teams flying a variety of national flags.

Unlike in the Olympics, where Great Britain is the only team representing the country, it sends four separate teams to the Commonwealth Games - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - just as it does in World Cup football and cricket.

The Pune games will be the first where all 71 Commonwealth teams that are entitled to participate will be seen in action.

Although there are 53 Commonwealth countries, a number of British colonies - known as British overseas territories - are allowed to participate, as are the British “Crown dependencies” of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

In addition, the Australian “external territory” of Norfolk Islands will send its own team, as will the Cook Islands and Nieu - two of New Zealand’s “external territories”.

In contrast to Pune, the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games - held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2000 - was attended by only 14 countries.

The Scottish government hopes that many of its athletes competing in Pune will win medals and will go on to compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014, and the London Olympics in 2012.

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